For most of them visitors, Tigers Nest or Taktsang is the end of trip. But for us the destination was far beyond the tiger’s mountain.
There are trek routes connecting Paro and Thimpu: which were used by the villagers before the construction of the new modern roads. Though very few people use these tough mountain tracks nowadays: these have become the world famous trek routes of Bhutan. Our destination is one of the high altitude pastures, near Bumdra Monastery. We could see the depth of the cliff and the nest balancing on the cliff on our way to Bumdra.
The nearest vehicular route is just eight hours trek from this monastery: to my astonishment, there are a few monks living inside this mountain monastery: all round the year.
Only the real lucky and blessed people get a chance to visit this monastery. .. I am happy to understand and find that I am one of the very very lucky Non Bhutanese/ Indian (I was called half Bhutanese when I lived in Bhutan ) to visit this place.
After our visit to the Tigers Nest, we continued uphill. We could see the nest just below the hill, hanging to the cliff.
The track starts just before the tigers nest, a very steep climb amidst steep hillrock to reach the top of the cliff and then a trek path. There were no people around and the mountains were mostly ours.
A very traditional adventure route: away from the touristy tracks. The uphill route was made stairs made by cutting tree trunks.
The forest around was mostly alpine. As we trekked up we could see a birds eye view of Paro Valley and the mountains around and a glimpse of the pinnacle of snow caps beyond it..
According to Tandin a decade ago, the valley was full of paddy fields and green: now most of it has been turned into big palatial tin roof houses.
We crossed several remote villages. Most of them are several hours of walk from the nearest road. Many of the opening villages have mobile network, but the ones further beyond doesn’t. They live a simple life fulfilling their bare necessities: but there was happiness, love and satisfaction in the face of everyone. They were very healthy and.. girls were beautiful.
What made me wonder the most was this monastery in one of the villages. This building is at-least a century old and made of just Mud and Stone (Wooden roof). Himalayas are one of the areas very much prone to earthquakes. The sense and knowledge of the people who made it out reach the present day engineers and architects: who are still struggling to make earthquake prone buildings.
There were many old monasteries along the trek route.The villagers work together to make these monasteries. Its a month long celebration. They sing and dance and build the monastery together.
The walls are made of mud and stones: and beautiful paintings on the outside wall. The wooden have been replaced by tin roof. They carry it head-loaded from the town in the valley.
With lot of primulas, this set Primula denticulata (drumstick primrose) attracted my camera: native to moist alpine regions of Asia grows over the forest floor.
The abode of mountains, Bhutan is home to many rare and beautiful plant species: including many endemic ones. These beautiful flowers can be seen nowhere on earth. There were lot of Rhododendron plants on the way.
Long time ago, these were high altitude pastures used by the nomadic yak herders. Now, most of this community has moved to the nearby cities. Yet there are few gangs still doing their traditional work..
Now these pasture lands are used as destinations for trekking: Bhutan is well known around he world for the Low Volume high Impact Tourism.
This was the early morning view from the camp we stayed at Bumdra
On our return way, we just had a halt at the pastures.
We said our prayers and performed the rituals at the Bumdra Monastery.
The Bumdra Monastry
Pose before Bumdra Monastry
The steep cliff inside Bumdra Monastry: There are monks living inside this monastery(all round the year) and they perform poja and bless the visitors. The nearest town in seven Hours trek from here.A really satisfying and fruitful life.
I come from India, and Bhutan is like my second home. I lived at Kanglung: the east side of Bhutan for one year: while I was teaching at Sherubtse College.